MOVING ON: Bruce McKenzie has experienced the impacts of driver inattention and has backed The Chronicle's Give... Don't Grieve road safety campaign.
MOVING ON: Bruce McKenzie has experienced the impacts of driver inattention and has backed The Chronicle's Give... Don't Grieve road safety campaign. Contributed

How moment's inattention cost man more than a leg

BRUCE McKenzie has come to terms living life without his left leg.

He can deal with that and it no longer bothers him as much as it did three years ago.

Even the physical pain has dimmed a bit, and the new prosthetic he had fitted means he's almost as mobile as before the August 30, 2013 incident.

But what he and his wife struggle with now, and have since the senseless day he was run over by a driver who ignored multiple speed signs at a roadworks site on the Southern Downs, is the toll it took on his marriage.

Mr McKenzie's injuries were horrific - a crushed pelvis, shattered left leg that had to be amputated, and damage to his urethra which left him without sexual function.

"It resulted in pretty much a paralysed (genitals)," Mr McKenzie said.

"I've got over the leg; it doesn't bother me much but the other side?

"I'm stuck with that and it's had a pretty big effect on me and (wife) Louise.

"That's the biggest mental thing."

 

Give don't grieve DINKUS
Give don't grieve DINKUS georja Ryan

Mr McKenzie was working as a traffic controller when a Texas man driving a truck on the Cunningham Hwy near Glencoe in August, 2013, failed to notice several road works signs and slowing speed limits.

Forensic Crash Unit investigators put the man's speed at somewhere between 73kmh and 103kmh when he struck the back of a stopped ute, launching it across Mr McKenzie.

"I just heard the bang and started running. I turned around and it was on top of me - I dived into the ground and it ran right over my pelvis," he said.

"A spring hanging off the bottom of the ute ripped through my leg and the muscle was hanging out of the side."

When the truck driver was sentenced in court, his barrister said there was no real explanation as to why he didn't slow his vehicle or see the road signs - just prolonged inattentiveness on a road he'd driven many times before.

"I've got no hard feelings against him, it was just a stupid thing that caused the chaos and mayhem," Mr McKenzie said.

"All my family has been affected by it, not just me the person who was hurt.

"I never dwell on the past otherwise I would be a mess but my wife is quite a mess.

"Probably the worst effect is on my wife mentally."

The McKenzies backed The Chronicle's Give... Don't Grieve road safety campaign because they don't want innocent bystanders to endure the pain they have from driver inattention.

"They need to know that it impacts and ripples out," Mrs McKenzie said.

"Never drop your guard.

"You don't have to be super alert, just be aware that if you do something stupid, there will always be repercussions."

Shine Lawyers transport law expert Peter Gibson said Mr McKenzie's story showed how a spilt second could irreparably change a life.

"It's no laughing matter when a lapse in concentration results in the amputation of a man's leg," he said.



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